Four young men were stabbed or beaten and another narrowly escaped being attacked by a mob of about 50 as teenage gang rivalry raised its head in Khayelitsha over the weekend.
The rivalry between Khayelitsha’s Italians and Vatos-Slokos gangs – made up mostly of school children, some as young as 13 – has been dormant since the September school break when at least five stabbings occurred.
Prior to that, in the June/July holidays, two young men were killed and 20 gang-related stabbings reported.
Now as the December break approaches, the violence appears to be flaring up again, and residents complain that there seems to be little action from police.
On Friday a 16-year-old from Khayelitsha D section was stabbed in Site B while on his way to the Nonkqubela Shopping Mall and had to spend the night at the Site B hospital.
Also on Friday afternoon more than 50 Vato-Slokos members went to Site B YAB section looking for 16-year- old Ndimphiwe Nzola, but after they failed to find him, they attacked two other passing teenagers they accused of belonging to the Italians gang.
YAB informal settlement resident Amanda Siko, 25, said about 50 gang members from D- Section came to the area looking for a young man called Ndimphiwe.
“They surrounded his home, lucky he was not home. They had golf sticks, knifes and pangas. They left the house looking for others. Residents were so scared. They stabbed two guys in Alien Drive, after they called them Italians. Police were called but arrived later.”
Ndimphiwe’s mother Nobonile said her only son was doing his laundry when gang members came looking for him.
“Lucky he saw them first, when they were surrounding my house he hid in another house. They accused him of stabbing their friend.”
She said she called the police and Ndimphiwe, as well as some of his friends, provided a statement.
“They promised to do a follow up but nothing has happened. This is not the first time, last time they stabbed him four times in his back, once in his right side and in his hand. I don’t know when this ends. My son said his no longer part of the gang.”
Other residents in YAB Informal Settlement in Site B confirmed that two teenagers were stabbed during a gang fight in the area on Friday night.
Then on Sunday afternoon a young man by the name of Sihle was attacked by a group of Vatos-Slokos members and beaten with a golf stick next to his home in Site B Y- Section.
Last month Sihle was stabbed six times by the Vatos-Slokos gang and was beaten so badly that he lost a number of teeth.
The enmity between the Italians in Khayelitsha Site B and the Vato-slokos in Sections A – G erupted a year ago over a stolen cell phone.
Questions sent to the police remained unanswered at the time of going to press. — Nombulelo Damba